Paul JohnstonPaul Johnston
HomeBooksAboutContact
The Black Life The Nameless Dead The Nameless Dead The Death List The Soul Collector
Books
The Greek Novels
Crying Blue Murder
The Last Red Death
The Golden Silence
The Silver Stain
The Green Lady
The Black Life
The White Sea
The Quint Novels
The Matt Wells Novels

Greek Private Eye Novels

MIRA UK republished all three Mavros titles in May 2009. Crying Blue Murder has been published in Australia. The novels have also been translated into Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Dutch and Czech..

There are now seven Mavros novels. You can read about the genesis of each novel on its own page (use the links below), as well as find out much about my interest in Greece there. I’d just like to give a brief general introduction to the books here.

The Last Red Death | The Golden Silence | The Silver Stain | The Green Lady | The Black Life| | The White Sea

Having been closely involved with Greece one way or another since my childhood, I knew it was inevitable that I would write about the country and its people. In fact, the three unpublished novels I wrote during my ‘apprenticeship’ all contained significant elements about Greece, as do the Quint Dalrymple books. When I was finally unable to resist the urge to write novels set in Greece any longer, I wanted to do justice to the country, its long history and its staggering cultural achievements - as well as to bring out its dark side. This means that the Mavros books are not just private eye novels set in an exotic location - there are plenty, maybe too many, of those (though, fortunately for me, not many in Greece).

The books are my attempt to come to terms with the country that has been a major part of my life for decades. As a result, they cover subjects that some critics (though not many readers, as far as I can tell from your responses) think are too weighty for crime novels. I totally reject this form of literary snobbery. As many excellent contemporary novelists have shown (for example, Ian Rankin, George Pelecanos, Robert Wilson, John Connolly, Henning Mankell), the genre is capable of many and varied things. In fact, I believe that crime writers are more prepared to take on the big issues of the day (terrorism, child abuse, the drugs trade) than many so-called literary novelists. Anyway, enough of this rant about literary discrimination. The point is, I wanted to take the crime novel to places it hadn’t been before - and I don’t just mean geographically.

One of the crime series that I most admire is Michael Dibdin’s featuring the lugubrious Italian policeman Aurelio Zen. Amongst its many virtues is the way that Dibdin uses the series to pinpoint different areas of Italy and bring out their local politics and problems. Initially I thought I’d mirror this in the Mavros series, and indeed, I do change locations from book to book. But as I went on with the books, it turned out that each of them is a very different animal in other terms as well. Crying Blue Murder was an attempt to subvert the urban noir novel by setting a series of brutal crimes on a seemingly unspoiled island dotted with whitewashed houses. The Last Red Death covered the genealogy of terrorism, following the thread back to the Second World War - in fact, it’s more of a political thriller than a crime novel. And The Golden Silence is a take on the sub-genre of the gangster novel. All three books emphasise the importance of the past and of the family in Greece.

After a gap of nine years, Mavros miraculously came back to life. The Silver Stain (2012) took him to Crete; The Green Lady (2012) to Delphi and its environs; The Black Life (2013) to Thessaloniki; and The White Sea (2014) to Lesbos. There’s been a good response to the books, but now Mavros is on holiday for a bit. Not before time, I hear him groan…

Website copyright © Paul Johnston 2013 Author photo by Colin Thomas
Website development by Pedalo limited